The NextGenerationEU (“NGEU”) is the largest yet package of economic stimulus measures launched by the EU to boost the recovery of European economies after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility (“RRF”) is the key instrument at the heart of the NGEU to help EU Member States become stronger in the wake of the crisis by mitigating the economic and social impact of COVID-19 .
The RRF involves a total of 750 billion euros – 390 billion euros in grants and 360 billion euros in loans – of which Poland expects to receive almost 24 billion euros in grants and over 34 billion euros in loans. If things go according to expectations, Poland will be the fourth largest RRF beneficiary (after Spain, Italy, and France).
The Council has not yet approved the Polish recovery and resilience plan (the “Recovery Plan”); it is currently being assessed by the Commission.
OUTLINE OF THE POLISH RECOVERY PLAN
The Recovery Plan contains a set of reforms and public investment projects Poland intends to implement with RRF support. The achievement of goals under the Recovery Plan is foreseen until 2026.
The Recovery Plan is structured around five economic pillars: (i) resilience and competitiveness of the economy, (ii) green energy and a reduction in energy intensity, (iii) digital transformation, (iv) effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of the health system, and (v) green and intelligent mobility.
The Recovery Plan foresees investment projects for the implementation of innovative and digital solutions, a structural transformation of key areas of the Polish economy aimed at reducing the consumption of natural resources and introducing environmental innovations. The document envisages a strengthening of the science sector through improvements in science and innovation transfers to the economy.
In addition, the Recovery Plan includes measures to improve air quality and energy efficiency in buildings, to develop renewable energy sources, zero-emissions transport, smart mobility, and broadband internet access. It also aims to improve the quality and accessibility of health care services through investments in the development and modernisation of medical infrastructure in Poland.
Funds will be allocated to investments in innovation, electro-mobility, green technology, and digital applications and services.
The intended distribution of funds seems to be in line with the European Regulation’s minimum requirement that at least 37% should be allocated to environmental protection and 20% to the digital transition (up to 37.7% and 20.9%, respectively).
Where certain measures constitute state aid, the projects and programmes provided in the Recovery Plan will be notified to the Commission unless the State aid block-exemption regulation applies.
The Polish government has opened a special website dedicated to the Recovery Plan, where it publishes updates and further information. Please see here.